Australian Open 2019: Lucas Pouille beats Milos Raonic to reach semi-final
|Australian Open 2019|
|Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-27 January|
|Coverage: Daily live commentaries on the BBC Sport website, listen to Tennis Breakfast daily from 08:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and watch highlights on BBC TV and online.|
Lucas Pouille reached his first Grand Slam semi-final with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 win over 16th seed Milos Raonic at the Australian Open.
The Frenchman gained his first victory over the Canadian in four attempts and will face world number one Novak Djokovic for a place in the final.
Djokovic was 6-1 4-1 ahead against Kei Nishikori when the Japanese withdrew.
The other men's semi-final will be between 17-time major winner Rafael Nadal and Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas.
"I did really great with returns and kept my serve almost all the match," said 28th seed Pouille, whose coach Amelie Mauresmo worked with Andy Murray from 2014 to 2016.
"I did not win a match before coming here, now I'm in the semi-final so I'm really happy.
"We kept working hard - even after all the matches I lost in the Hopman Cup. I decided to take it step by step and give it all I have on every single point."
- 'It's not about being a man or a woman, it's about knowing tennis'
- Osaka beats Svitolina to reach semis
- Williams knocked out by Pliskova
- Follow the Australian Open on BBC TV, radio and online
- Why are tennis players are turning to pickle juice?
- Live scores & schedules
Pouille entered the world's top 20 in 2016 after reaching the last eight at Wimbledon and US Open. However, he struggled in 2018, failing to progress past the third round of any of the majors.
Coming into this match, the 24-year-old had lost his only match at the Sydney International and his three singles rubbers at the recent Hopman Cup.
When he trailed Raonic 5-2 in the first set, it appeared that the Frenchman was set for another defeat in Australia, but he fought back to not only level the scores but then take the tie-break.
Pouille grew in confidence and broke the 2016 semi-finalist in the fourth game of the second set with a superb lob en route to establishing a two-set lead.
The contest swung back towards the Canadian in the third set as he saved four break points before sweeping aside Pouille in a one-sided tie-break.
The fourth set went with serve until the 10th game when Raonic, after saving three match points, sent a volley wide to hand Pouille victory.
"I really wanted to return as well as possible and make him play. I've taken care of my serve and did not put too much pressure on myself," added Pouille.
"We had a plan and every single point I stayed focused and stayed on the plan we decided yesterday - it was a great match."